Buyer Guide for First Time Buyers and More

Buyer Guide for First Time Buyers and More

Purchasing a home for the first time is an exciting process. It can also be lengthy and somewhat overwhelming. To simplify the home-buying journey we have broken it down into steps. At each step Melody is available to help you understand the process and guide you forward. Some of these steps can happen concurrently. Every purchase can have unique elements and your situation may vary from someone else’s, but the following steps cover the key elements to be aware of and consider.

Many first time buyers have little or no experience with real estate professionals. Finding an advisor and advocate you trust and rely upon makes a big difference in finding the best value and home for you. When you interview a prospective agent, ask about their experience, knowledge, and reputation.

Choosing Melody as your agent ensures you will have a dedicated advocate to help make your purchase a success. Here are the main steps:

Evaluate your life and finances:

When you think it is time to start seriously looking to purchase a home, take a moment to look at your financial situation and crunch the numbers to see if this is the right time for you to buy. If you have financial advisors, talk to them about what you are planning. For example, there could be significant tax advantages in owning a home and your accountant or advisor can:

  •  Calculate a monthly mortgage payment you can afford. Use our mortgage calculator)
  •  Create a budget for monthly homeowner expenses (home owners insurance, Home Owners Association fees, property taxes, general maintenance, etc.)
  •  Check your credit report and if there are areas of improvement, make changes to improve the score.

Do your homework:

Research your prospective new neighborhood if you don’t live there already.  See our city and towns section for information on different areas in Sonoma County. Melody can provide a great deal of information and insight.
Start preparing for the loan process by determining where your down payment and closing costs (see section on closing costs) will come from. You will likely need to gather your tax returns for when you apply for a loan.

  •   Research the area where you want to live.
  •   Determine how much you can spend on your down payment closing costs.
  •   Learn your rights as a homebuyer and borrower.

Shop for a loan:

Shop for the best interest rates and loan terms. See our Mortgage Section for more information on what kinds of questions to ask potential lenders. As there are fees for every part of the process, ask for a good faith estimate from potential lenders and compare apples to apples. Make sure you understand everything you’re paying for.

  • Learn Mortgage Basics.
  • Shop around for the best loan product (see Loan shopping)
  • Get pre-approved.
  • Discuss tax implications with your accountant and/or financial planner.

Find a house:

Finding the right home for you is a clarifying process.  What you end up buying may not be what you initially imagined. Begin by using our search function to look for homes you would like to see.  We can also set you up on an automatic email list so you can receive listings direct to your email as soon as they come on the market (see sea